Is a recent firing weighing on you? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Susan David, a psychologist, lecturer at Harvard Medical School, and the author of Emotional Agility. They talk through what to do when your coworker has been wrongfully fired, your company has massive layoffs, or you’ve been fired.
From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:
HBR: The Right Way to Be Fired by Maryanne Peabody and Larry Stybel — “It’s natural to want to believe that the company for which you work so hard cares about you. But allowing yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security sets you up for shock and disappointment when you are fired or laid off.”
First Round Review: How to Lead and Rally a Company Through a Layoff — “A layoff shouldn’t be a surprise to leaders, nor to its people. It’s not something that happens to a company. It’s an act by its leadership when no other routes can be pursued. In other words, when a layoff is your way forward, you should implicitly be telling people that you’ve exhausted every other route.”
HBR: Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters by Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld and Andrew J. Ward — “No one can truly define success and failure for us—only we can define that for ourselves. No one can take away our dignity unless we surrender it. No one can take away our hope and pride unless we relinquish them. No one can steal our creativity, imagination, and skills unless we stop thinking. No one can stop us from rebounding unless we give up.”
HBR: After Layoffs, Help Survivors Be More Effective by Anthony J. Nyberg and Charlie O. Trevor — “If your firm has downsized recently, you’re now managing a bunch of survivors—the lucky ones who didn’t get laid off. But good fortune doesn’t make for good performance—at least not in this situation. Chances are, you’re presiding over a heightened level of employee dysfunction, even if you don’t see it yet.”